The force and vision of an entrepreneur is equivalent to that of a young new couple. The desire and vision are 100% clear and you are convinced: this will work; this is the one. In our mind, we have an outline of our marketing plan and, of course, the business will be profitable.
And so we, as entrepreneurs, begin our path. We develop our product and a website with some content. Concurrently, we patiently monitor the analytics of our website.
During the first year we are blinded with joy by the 25 visitors who have visited our website and the first two sales we’ve had. For now, it is enough to keep us going.
Then year two of our relationship comes around. We’re learning that a successful business needs more than a product and a website. So, we learn and do search engine optimisation, online marketing and content creation for multiple social media sites. We make a few mistakes, like purchasing backlinks to our website and spend some time to correct our mistakes.
By the end of year two, you can tell, we’ve lost some spark. This has become more work than anticipated and not profitable enough to quit the full-time job. The romance is gone and reality sets in.
This is the make-it or break-it stage of your business.
Do you enjoy the reality of your business enough to push it to the next stage? Or, like many, do you throw in the towel because you have a new idea that you are fully passionate about? It is common knowledge that the problems of one relationship, will be experienced in your next, if you don’t learn how resolve them.
So what do you do?
Take a week-long-breather and come back with a clear head. Now that you know what the reality of your business is and what it actually takes to achieve the next stage, begin writing.
Develop the business plan, that you should have developed before you started. What is the objective of your business? Do you need to hire some resources who are experts in the fields of sales and marketing? Do you need capital to run a campaign or improve your product? Now knowing the gross margin of your product and the costs needed to reach your target market, develop a 5 year income statement forecast. Define the required next steps.
Finally, ask yourself the question, do I want to commit to this business plan? What opportunities do I have to pass on to run my business? Social and family life will continue to take a smaller role. You’re going to pass on opportunities for promotions in your full-time gig as well potential other jobs.
Now that you know what the real cost and benefits of your startup are, you can choose to make it, or break it.